Saturday, December 28, 2019

Laser Cutting, Letterpress Printing, and Laser Cutting to Letterpress Print


Another semester at Smith College has come and gone. While there may be some relaxing in January, at the moment we're in full birthday/holiday/new years/new internship swing!

This semester I got to take a typography class with Barry Moser. In my almost 20 year journey as an Undergrad including four different community colleges in two different states, this was by far my favorite class I've ever taken.

Our first printing assignment was to fill an entire galley (the name for the metal tray where you compose your type) with wood type. My co-conspirator Anna and I made this. :)

I also learned that there's a design studio to support students in their endeavors where there's laser cutters, 3D printers, and a vinyl cutter among a lot of materials, tools, and rapid prototyping goodies.

After managing several levels of safetey training, I learned how to use the laser cutter. I played with the computer design program and then made a bunch of Bs. 

In the midst of it all, I made a little felted version of a beloved pet for some dear family friends. It passed the Jake test - our dog was pretty wary until he was able to sniff a little more closely.  

Later, over many of my blessedly long lunch breaks, I played around on the computer and cut out a bunch of earrings. They are the lightest, most comfortable earrings I've ever owned. 

I made some other pretty things out of 1/4" and 1/8' ply too.

Later, back in the press room, I wondered how to print curved text. Online I found someone selling a set of curved furniture (the name of the wood and metal pieces used to lock in the type so it doesn't wobble) for $80. Nope. I can make that. Back to the computer and I designed my own set. As "type high" is 0.9186 inches, I had to print three sets, glue them on top of each other and sand them completely smooth. 

It meant that I could do this.  I'm so thrilled with my projects, my classes, and my newly learned skills. 

I've also been accepted into the Book Studies program as my Concentration for my Studio Arts Major. Before I learned of the program, I was getting frustrated that the courses I thought I had to take were getting in the way of the classes I wanted to take - it turns out that they're all required for the Book Studies Concentration. 

One of the requirements is two 100+ hour internships. As I can only guarantee that I will be able to work hours that are built into my school days, in the week of finals I started a new internship at Big Wheel Press in Easthampton. 

Here's to even more! 

Wishing you all the best for a marvelous New Year!